Bronchiectasis is a progressive disease that develops when a mucus blockage causes the lungs’ airways to stretch and widen abnormally.
Through this process, more mucus collects in the airways, bacteria grows and infection sets in. Though there is no cure for bronchiectasis, our specialists at the Lung & Allergy Institute of Los Angeles are able to provide extremely effective treatment, allowing you to lead a normal, full and healthy life.
The symptoms of bronchiectasis are long-lasting, and may take months or years to occur. Typically, the condition begins in childhood and the symptoms appear later in life, though they can develop at anytime. The most common symptoms associated with bronchiectasis are:
- A congested cough
- Coughing up mucus or blood
- Multiple episodes of pneumonia
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Weight loss
- Bad breath
How is bronchiectasis diagnosed?
Effective treatment for bronchiectasis begins with a definitive diagnosis – something our specialists are vastly experienced at providing. If we suspect you or your child is suffering from bronchiectasis due to your symptoms and medical history, we may use one or more of the following tests to achieve a diagnosis:
CT scan of the chest
The most accurate test for diagnosing bronchiectasis, a CT scan provides our specialists with images of your lungs. This allows us to identify characteristics that are common among patients with the condition.
Standard chest x-ray
Though a CT scan is more accurate, a standard chest x-ray may also detect bronchiectasis.
Pulmonary function test
We may also administer a breathing test to determine whether your lung function is decreased due to bronchiectasis.
Using a bronchoscope (a very thin viewing instrument), this test allows our specialists to achieve direct visualization of your airways so we can confirm the diagnosis.
Once a diagnosis of bronchiectasis is confirmed, we may order additional tests to determine if any underlying diseases are contributing to your condition. For example, we may check for autoimmune diseases, cystic fibrosis and chronic infections, among other things.
How is bronchiectasis treated?
Though there is no cure for bronchiectasis and any damage caused by the condition is irreversible, effective treatment at the Lung & Allergy Institute of Los Angeles will prevent further damage and infections from occurring. In addition, it will greatly reduce symptoms and restore your or your child’s quality of life.
Your treatment will depend on the specifics of your condition. However, it almost always includes learning specialized coughing and breathing exercises so you can clear mucus from the lungs on a regular basis. In addition, we may prescribe inhaled medications to make breathing easier and antibiotics to clear an infection. In some cases, chronic antibiotic therapy and anti-inflammatory medications are also necessary.
Rarely, bronchiectasis is not able to be controlled with therapy, antibiotics and other medications. In these cases, surgery may be necessary to remove mucus or tumors from the lungs that may be contributing to your condition.
If you or your child suffers from bronchiectasis, please know that relief is possible with among the best bronchiectasis treatment Los Angeles has available at the Lung & Allergy Institute of Los Angeles. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment, and let us help you control your symptoms and get your condition under control.Contact Us